Staff at the Copenhagen Zoo have been receiving death threats after the zoo had shot dead a perfectly healthy giraffe and fed it to its zoo lions while families looked on.
Despite online campaigns pleading for the giraffe's life, the zoo decided to euthanize the animal in an effort to curb inbreeding among the giraffes at the zoo. Thousands signed petitions to save 18-month old Marius, and a Beverly Hills billionaire even offered to buy him and keep him in his backyard garden. More than 5,000 people signed a "Save Marius," Facebook petition, and additional online petitions were created in both Danish and English.
Their efforts were moot as the giraffe was put down, chopped up and fed to the lions -- all in front of a crowd that included small children.
The zoo falls under the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), which rules that in-breeding between giraffes should be avoided. Tobias Stenbaek Bro, the zoo's spokesperson, said Marius' genes were well-represented at the zoo. He could not be transported to another zoo, and it was best for Marius to be put down before he became an adult, he said. Castration was also not an option and he would likely not survive if let out into the wild, he said.